The spring VHT International and Horse Trials kicked off today at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. The FEI classes, Advanced/Intermediate, Intermediate, and Preliminary levels began their competition with all three phases of eventing running concurrently.
Lauren Kieffer and D.A. Duras took the early lead in the CCI3*-S, earning a score of 26.0 in dressage, and holding their top position following a double-clear trip around Chris Barnard’s show jumping track.
Kieffer is delighted with the 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, who was recovering from a minor injury for much of the 2018 competition season.
“He’s come out at a different level than when he was last competing,” Kieffer said. “Because he’s young, we took longer and erred on the side of caution [bringing him back]. I think in the long run it actually did the horse a lot of good. He’s come back really strong, really straight, and a lot more mature.”
D.A. Duras returned to competing in Ocala this April and most recently finished third at the Jersey Fresh International CCI4*-S. Their plan is to head up to Canada to compete at the MARS Equestrian Bromont CCI4*-L in June.
“We’ll let him go his own pace tomorrow,” Kieffer said. “The course looks nice. It will be a good fitness run — it’s pretty much all uphill.”
Close behind in second place is Phillip Dutton with Fernhill Revelation. They sit on a two-phase score of 26.3. Kimmy Cecere and Landmark’s Monaco are in hot pursuit on 29.9.
The CCI2*-L is making its debut here at the spring VHT International. Topping the division after the first phase is Will Faudree and Mama’s Magic Way with a score of 22.0. Doug Payne and Baymax are second with 25.5 while Arden Wildasin and Southern Sun lie third with a 26.4.
Dutton leads the way in the CCI2*-S riding Get Ready Get Set on a two-phase score of 29.7. They are followed by Laura Welsh and Toute Va Bien in second (31.1) and Emily Beshear and Templewood third (31.4).
The lower levels will begin their competition Saturday while the FEI classes take to the cross-country courses designed by Andy Bowles and John Michael Durr.
Virginia Horse Trials is pleased to welcome a record number of entries for the spring event, with about 440 horse and rider combinations. There was also an increase in the FEI entrants with the addition of the CCI2*-L to the schedule.
“I’d like to thank people for choosing to come to Virginia Horse Trials. There are a lot of events on the calendar, and we appreciate that they save a place for us on their schedule,” Organizer Andy Bowles said. “Our aim is to focus on rider and horse experience at every level, whether they are amateurs and professionals. We want them to go home having had a positive experience and look forward to coming back.”
My name is Tayah Fuller and I’m 14 years old. “On course” to me is a phrase that makes my heart pump fast and my excitement go wild. There is no better feeling than galloping through a field or flying over cross-country jumps with my heart thrumming along, especially when it is with my best friend. You see, I was born with a congenital heart murmur. While it has never really affected my athletic abilities, the one time that I notice it is when I am riding through a cross-country course with my horse.
Please always remain vigilant when it comes to sending any personal communications via email or text. Every year we receive reports of members and leaders of our sport receiving phishing attempts both online and by phone. These are often communications disguised as being sent from USEA staff or other leaders. As the years go on, the phishing attempts appear to be more directed and tailored.
Tack cleaning is one of those barn chores that might not be our favorite but is certainly necessary for keeping our equipment in top shape. Aside from caring for your tack so it lasts for years to come, regular tack maintenance is important for safety. The last thing you want is the potential for a stitch, zipper, or buckle breaking while you're out on course.
Following feedback from our membership to the rule change proposal for the USEF Rules For Eventing: Appendix 3 – Participation In Horse Trials, the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Board of Governors voted to modify the rule change proposal, but still to recommend the establishment of rider licenses and increase Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) to the regulating authority of the sport US Equestrian (USEF).